August 4, 2023

Off-Duty Nurse Saves Driver Trapped in Cement Truck

Off-Duty Nurse Saves Driver Trapped in Cement Truck

Image: wkyc studios

Valleywise Health registered nurse Leigh Ann Sondrup was on her way home from a shift at the hospital when she was forced to put her nursing skills to work. As Sondrup was driving home she came upon a crash near the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport exit and quickly pulled over to check everyone involved. After making sure the scene was safe, she noticed the driver of the cement truck was trapped inside. 

“If the call is there and the need arises, that’s what we do,” Sondrup said. Sondrup triaged the driver and realized that his injuries were severe and he was quickly losing blood from his foot and leg. He told me, ‘I’m going to die.’ And I said, ‘No, you’re not. Not today, you’re not going to die today,’” Sondrup said. “I’m a believer when it’s your time to go, it’s your time. But it wasn’t his time. Not yet,” she said

In order to stop the bleeding, she asked for a belt from one of the bystanders to apply as a tourniquet. Ambulances arrived on the scene and transported the patient to a local hospital in stable condition.  

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Some would say Sondrup was in the right place at the right time, and maybe she was but she also felt a need to save the life of the truck driver beyond being a nurse. Four years ago Sondrup’s parents were in a crash outside of Tempe, Arizona and while others tried to help them that day, they were unable to and both died.  

Sondrup hopes that others will remember that it doesn’t take a medical degree or nursing license to try and help. In her parents' accident, she said that even the boy that caused the crash tried to help without any formal training.  

“There’s a Stop The Bleed class that’s available that can help save lives,” she said.  

Stop The Bleed is held via the University of Arizona Emergency Medical Services. The program teaches participants how to properly apply a tourniquet, as well as other life-saving measures. The class is open to anyone, held multiple times a year, and is taught by medical experts.  

“I did not have a fancy tourniquet; we used a belt. These are all things that anyone can learn to do,” she added

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